Mika Salmi, the former global head of MTV Networks’ varied digital businesses--who stepped down earlier this year--has been installed as chairman of the board of directors at Sulake the Helsinki, Finland-based company which manages the popular teen-targeted virtual world Habbo.
Salmi had served as president of global digital media for MTV Networks/Viacom for roughly two and a half years before leaving the company in March. Salmi’s tenure at Viacom began in mid-2006 after the media giant acquired Atom Entertainment, the online entertainment company he founded in 1998. Under Salmi’s leadership, MTV Networks launches dozens of new Web sites, including sites dedicated to specific shows such as The Daily Show. However, during that time the company also wrestled with just how best to approach the new world of social networking and Web video that was proving so popular with its core young target.
At Sulake, Salmi joins a company which has been at the forefront of an increasingly popular trend—kids and young adults spending lots of time interacting with friends in virtual worlds.
Habbo has proven to be among the more consistently high-trafficked teen worlds in multiple countries, and has attracted the attention of the traditional media establishment. For example, earlier this year the company partnered with Fox’s American Idol.
“Social entertainment is the convergence of social networking, gaming, virtual worlds and real time broadcasting,” said Salmi. “Already a leader in virtual worlds and online communities with Habbo, Sulake is perfectly positioned to lead this new and rapidly developing converged business with innovative products, a profitable business model and an effective global operation.”